Regnery book publisher Marjory Ross gave an interesting piece of advice in a recent conference. I don't remember her exact words but it went something like 'Don't feel obligated to finish a book, especially if it's a bad one. Just stop reading and move on to the next one.'
It got me thinking about all the books I started reading but never finished. Here's a list of the top five fiction books I couldn't bear to read all the way through:
5. The Silmarillion - J.R.R. Tolkien
I'd just completed 'The Return of the King' and eager to read more Tolkien. So I picked up The Silmarillion and got as far as the second page before it put me to sleep. I haven't opened it since and probably never will.
4. Hannibal - Thomas Harris
I was looking forward to this. I mean, The Silence of the Lambs movie was good, so the sequel in book form should be a fun read, right? Unfortunately I had to force myself to read page after every page. And eventually gave up when the story languished in Florence. To this day, I still think there's a good book in here somewhere, we just need to be more patient. And hopefully it doesn't turn out as bad as the movie that was based on this.
3. The Sicilian - Mario Puzo
I thoroughly enjoyed The Godfather, great characters, epic storyline, one of the most entertaining books ever written. So of course I had to get The Sicilian, especially since Michael Corleone is featured in the first part. Alas, he only has a minor role as the main character is a Robin Hood type fugitive named Guiliano. This is not the sequel I thought it was, but rather a different story, though it's still possible that Puzo may tie the storyline to the Corleone family in the end. I never found out though because I quit reading one third of the way through. I still think this is a good book worth reading. One of these days I'll continue where I left off.
2. Prey - Michael Crichton
I really wanted to like this book. It's about nanotechnology, computers, has a computer programmer as the main character, had a futuristic setting, and was written in Crichton's entertaining yet informative style which I enjoyed in his previous work. Amazingly, I lost complete interest about halfway through the book, just when the action was heating up. It seemed uninspired, forced, tailored to a movie audience. Something didn't feel right. Either Crichton has lost his touch or my taste in fiction is changing.
1. Servant of the Bones - Anne Rice
No offence to Anne Rice fans but this was a disaster. I was literally within five pages of the ending, striking distance to ending my torture and boredom when I realized it just wasn't worth finishing it. I just didn't care about any of the characters or what happened to them. The storyline was irritating and nonsensical. I would rather play with my dog than invest ten more minutes reading the remaining crap.